Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.43: Down Is a Four-Letter Word

shakrasy' aardh'-aasanaM gatvaa
puurva-paarthiva eva yaH
sa-devatvaM gate kaale
maandhaat" aadhaH punar yayau

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Having attained half of Indra's throne

As a veritable earth-lord of the old school,

Mandhatri when his time with the gods elapsed

Came back down again.

Mandhatri, reputed to be a 19th-generation descendant of Ikshvaku, was a famous king of the ancient city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. He was evidently a great mover and shaker and a very fast mover to boot: The history of Ayodhya records that Mandhatri obtained half the throne of Indra and conquered the whole earth in one day.

So whereas King Shibi's route to heaven was that of the goody-two-shoes, Mandhatri as a powerful earth-lord may have been more inclined to barge his way in, not necessarily in a politically correct manner. Either way, from Ananda's standpoint, the sojourn in heaven was just a temporary high-point on the swing of samsara; it was not the result of the practice of yoga, whose dual pillars are awareness/mindfulness (smRti) and integration/balanced stillness (samaadhi) and whose direction is the direction of growth of consciousness - primarily, that is, upward.

They say that what goes up must come down, and on the swing of samsara that might be true. But in the teaching of buddha-ancestors, as if to challenge the view that what goes up must come down, there is a matter which is called "the matter of buddha going on up."

EH Johnston:
The primeval king, Mandhatri, attained half the throne of Indra, yet when his time with the gods had elapsed, he returned to earth below.

Linda Covill:
In the olden days King Mandhatri gained half of Indra's throne, but the time of his divinity passed and he went to the lower region again.

shakrasya (gen. sg. m.): mfn. strong , powerful , mighty (applied to various gods , but esp. to indra); m. name of indra
ardh'-aasanam (acc. sg.): n. half a seat (it is considered a mark of high respect to make room for a guest on one's own seat)
ardha: mfn. half
aasana: n. seat
gatvaa = abs. gam: to go to, partake of, obtain

puurva-paarthivaH (nom. sg. m.): ancient lord of the earth
puurva: mfn. being before; (often ibc. e.g. pūrva-kārin , active before , pūrv'-okta , said before ); former, ancient
paarthiva: mfn. earthen , earthy , earthly , being in or relating to or coming from the earth , terrestrial ; mfn. (from m. below) fit for kings or princes , royal , princely ; m. a lord of the earth , king , prince , warrior
eva: (emphatic)
yaH (nom. sg. m.): [he] who

sa-devatvam (nom. sg. n.): protection of the gods
sa-deva: mfn. accompanied or protected by gods
deva-tva: n. godhead , divinity
sa: (possessive prefix)
-tvam: (neuter abstract noun suffix)
gate (loc. abs..): mfn. gone, passed
kaale (loc. abs.): m. time

maandhaataa (nom. sg. m.): māndhātṛ N. of a king (son of yuvan'-āśva , author of RV.)
adhas: ind. below , down ; in the lower region
punar: ind. back again
yayau = 3rd pers. sg. perfect yaa: to go

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